Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani had missed a total of two games prior to this past week. But the news of a partially torn UCL followed by an oblique strain has held Ohtani out of the lineup for seven consecutive games. That’s his longest stretch of missed games since the start of 2019, when he missed the Angels’ first 34 games after for Tommy John surgery recovery.
Ohtani’s agent had discussed the possibility of Ohtani being held out the remainder of the season to focus on recovery and his upcoming free agency. However, being the competitor that he is, it would be unlike Ohtani to skip out on a full month, especially as he sits on an MVP trajectory.
But Angels manager Phil Nevin says that Ohtani’s absence may soon be coming to an end, with a possible return set for Monday as the Angels travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Mariners, according to Janis Carr of The O.C. Register:
“He feels better today again,” Nevin said. “I know he’s going to take some swings later. I would say today probably.”
Pressed to define “realistic”, Nevin said, “There’s a good chance that he feels he’s good tomorrow and will play.
“Today’s the day where he feels pretty good. He hasn’t swung yet, but like I said, he felt a lot better doing that.”
Nevin is being careful as not to overpromise Ohtani’s return on Monday, but it does seem possible that the Angels will have one of their two MVP’s back in the lineup for the Mariners series.
At this point, Ohtani returning is more for his personal stats and to show prospective teams that he can be effective as just a hitter without pitching. But it’s a nice boost for the Angels to get a bona fide superstar back in the lineup to close out the 2023 campaign.
There are still many conversations to be had surrounding Ohtani. But for now, fans can enjoy an elite player making a possible return to the field.
Angels reportedly open to trading Trout
The Angels may find themselves in a position to hit a hard reset button on their franchise this winter. If Ohtani does leave for a new team in free agency, it’s possible the team would be open to trading away superstar Mike Trout.
Plenty of details need to be figured out, but the Angels seem ready to have those types of difficult conversations.